Filing With Immigration
Once you have been selected by an agency for a foreign program, it is necessary to file a petition for approval to adopt a foreign orphan. The petition, called the I-600A, "Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition," should be filed with your nearest INS office. If you are a resident in the United States, this petition must be approved before an adopted child can immigrate to the United States. INS publishes a helpful booklet that explains more about the I-600A entitled "The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children," publication M-249Y, which you can request either from your adoption agency or from your local INS office.
Your adoption agency may either file the I-600A on your behalf or assist you to file it. To file your I-600A, you will need to provide your fingerprints on form FD-258 and your approved home study. Married couples must submit proof that at least one applicant is a U.S. citizen, at least one partner is 25 years of age, proof of their marriage, and documentation of termination (through divorce or death) of any prior marriage(s). Single adopters must also submit proof of their U.S. citizenship, proof of being at least 25 years of age, and documentation of termination (through divorce or death) of any prior marriages. INS will determine if you can properly care for an adopted child. Upon approval from INS, you will be sent Form I-71H, "Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition." You also should request that notice of this approval be sent to the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country in which you plan to adopt the child. Your I-600A petition approval will remain valid for 18 months from the date of approval. You will be required to refile if your I-600A petition if it expires, but there is an expedited refiling procedure available.
When your I-600A petition is approved, there is no guarantee that the petition for a particular child will be approved. Approval for a particular child depends upon the child's status as an orphan according to the definition in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and, to some extent, upon the child's medical status. The INS publication M-249Y referenced above explains the INA orphan qualifications in detail.
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